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Lawmakers: US should look more closely into Qatar’s links with radical groups

Published: Updated:

American lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are urging the Trump administration to look more closely into Qatar’s links to extremist and radical groups as the president said he plans on working with Doha to combat terrorism in the Middle East.

Democratic Congressman from California’s 30th district Rep. Brad Sherman said the United States should be more cautious with Qatar given the latter’s history with supporting extremist groups across the region.

“We should certainly have meetings, even with people we disagree with,” Sherman told Washington-based newspaper Roll Call in an email. “Qatar certainly has continuing contact with Hamas and we are reviewing whether they are helping to finance Hamas.”

Sherman’s statement comes just one day after a former US defense official called for Doha to modify its foreign policy and stop its support of terrorism before it wants to actively seek an end to its diplomatic crisis with its neighbors.

“In many ways, I think Qataris are playing with fire because if they think that they can support these types of groups I think they’re making a huge mistake,” Dov S. Zakheim, former Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) and Chief Financial Officer for the Department of Defense (DoD) from 2001 to 2004, and involved in negotiating the expansion of the al-Udied Base in Qatar the early 2000s, told Al Arabiya English.

“They would go down in flames just like everybody else in the region. On the one hand, we’d like to see the Qataris make it up with the rest of the GCC and Egypt. But at the same time, we really think they’re playing with fire and probably would endanger themselves as much as everybody else,” Zakheim added.